Thursday, July 22, 2004

Bobby Fischer and Dick Cheney Compared:
Both are Criminals; Only One is a Liar

This guy, James Taranto, is the author of the Best of the Web  page for the Wall Street Journal.  Today he included a blurb:

He Belongs in One, All Right
"Chess Great Fischer Seeks Asylum"--headline, Associated Press, July 21

I find this to be offensive, because it implies a negative value judgment about psychiatric hospitals and patients.  The implication is that because Mr. Fischer allegedly violated US law, he should be in a mental hospital.  No, people who are found guilty of crimes belong in a prison, not a hospital.  Yes, Fischer has said and done some awfully offensive things, and he may have broken the law.  Perhaps he's a bad man.  But don't joke about asylums.

Rant tangent aside, it seems odd that Mr.  Fischer would be of such interest to the US Dept. of Justice that they would extradite him from Japan.  His alleged crime:

Fischer is wanted in the United States for playing a rematch against Soviet world champion Boris Spassky in Yugoslavia in 1992. Yugoslavia was under international sanctions at the time, and U.S. citizens were banned from doing business there.

Fischer won the match and more than $3 million in prize money.

He was caught in Japan, because he was trying to get on a plane to the Philippines, and his passport was not valid.

In the full post at The Rest of the Story, I compare this to another story about another case of an American doing business with a sanctioned country.